3D Printing is not Some Future EdTech Vision Hoping to be Realized — Educators are Using it in Amazing Ways Right now.
From engineering to art, 3D printing technology inspires students to innovate. In the classroom, educators create immersive learning experiences, using hands-on technology to bring lesson plans to life. In the lab, 3D printing facilitates cutting-edge research.
Students constantly interact with products created with 3D printing, from electronic devices to jewelry. Learning about the manufacturing process provides incredible insight into how everyday objects are made and helps to foster problem solving and design thinking. By integrating 3D printing technology into curriculums, teachers give students the ability to bring digital designs to life—creating endless possibilities across disciplines.
Bringing Technology to K-12 Learning
3D printing can be applied to any K-12 classroom in the STEAM framework. With 3D printing, students can produce accurate anatomical models, create 3D art, design custom toys, study biological reactions in microfluidics, build 3D objects based on mathematical equations, and more.
At Boston University’s Artemis Project, a computer science summer camp for girls, students are immersed in modern technology, including 3D printing. This summer, students learned how to use the Form 2 desktop 3D printer, dove into the science behind the machine and its materials, and explored its applications in professional industries.
Integrating Disciplines at Universities
Researchers at Indiana University use 3D printing
to give a cancer survivor a new prosthetic jaw.
At universities, 3D printers are found in classrooms for engineering, architecture, industrial design, art, dentistry, medicine, and even game design. With its diverse applications, 3D printing encourages cross-pollination between fields of study.
At Indiana University (IU), two departments that are traditionally worlds apart—computer graphics and medical prosthetics—came together to develop a new medical process called the Shirley Technique.
After Shirley Anderson lost his jaw to cancer, Dr. Travis Bellicchi, a resident at the IU School of Dentistry who specializes in maxillofacial prosthetics, set out to make him an artificial jaw. Traditional methods fell short: it was incredibly time consuming, and the final prosthesis was uncomfortable and lacked realistic details.
After Professor Zeb Wood, a lecturer at the School of Media Arts and Sciences, introduced Dr. Bellicchi to digital sculpting, IU student Cade Jacobs completed the prosthesis using ZBrush software, which is usually used for films and video games. The prosthesis design was perfected with a fleet of Formlabs 3D printers, resulting in a comfortable, realistic artificial jaw for Shirley and a new digital method for creating facial prosthetics.
How to Get Started with 3D Printing in the Classroom
Learn more about how 3D printing is changing education, and how you can put emerging technology in the hands of your students: register for a free webinar on September 27 from Formlabs, Immersive Learning, Inspired Students: Leveraging 3D Printing in Education. All registrants will receive a full recording of the webinar after the event.